He’s an Indy 500 winner, IndyCar champion and one of the most successful drivers in open-wheel competition. He’s won 18 IndyCar series races and seven pole positions, and he’s not ready for the brake check to full-time sports car racing.
Ryan Hunter-Reay is only 40, and feels like he’s got plenty of good miles ahead of him in IndyCars.
“I’ve been with Andretti Autosport 12 years, and we have accomplished a lot together. However, last year was the first time I did not give the team an option to extend my drivers agreement,” he told RACER.
“When I signed my drivers agreement last year, my thought was 2021 was going to be my last with Andretti and DHL, and probably my last full-time competition in IndyCar.
“However, what I didn’t anticipate is having such a dreadful year, and going out like that doesn’t sit well with me at all. I should have addressed matters earlier this year, but the Silly Season arrived early and I’ve had some great dialogue with different teams about 2022.
“The fact is, for whatever reason, it has not been working at Andretti for me. Neither Alex (Rossi) nor I have won a race in over two years. I am at 42 races without a win, and Alex is at 32 races, so it is past time for changes.”
“It’s a healthy driver’s market and there are more competitive teams than ever, so it is a great time for me to have a total change in dynamics and scenery. And I know I can substantially contribute to a team, still win races and that I have a lot of desire and fight in me. I’m looking for a reset, a fresh start.”
Hunter-Reay is the only American racer to score wins in IndyCar, CART, Champ Car, IMSA, the American Le Mans Series and Grand-Am.
What if he’s offered a factory ride for Le Mans, IMSA and a one-off at Indianapolis?
“It would have to be the right scenario for the next two or three years, but I’ve come so close to winning Indy twice and that’s where my heart is,” he said. “I know that’s a vague answer, but it’s how I feel about my career.”
The two-time ESPY driver of the year was lying fourth last May coming in for his last pit stop when the brakes failed and ruined his chances.
“We’ve been competitive,” he said. “I just can’t catch a break, but that could change in a heartbeat. I’m not giving up on myself or IndyCar.”
This story has been updated since it was originally published to include additional quotes.